AN experienced boat skipper says an invasion of algae bloom could be causing fish and sea birds to disappear from the Clyde.

Ayrshire seaman Tony Wass, 76, says waters have become devoid of life - sparking concerns for the future of the sector and marine welfare.

He said: "I have been out fishing between Arran and Ailsa Craig and the fish have just disappeared - it is the strangest thing I have ever experienced.

"Nothing on this scale has ever happened before. I have spoken to fishermen who are older than me and nobody can recall this happening before.

"It may look pretty, but this algae bloom actually goes all the way down to the sea bed and there is no visibility whatsoever for the fish or sea birds."

Tony, who lives in Bowfield Road in West Kilbride, added: "During my trip last week, there were no signs of the usual bird life. I am concerned that a lot of birds may have died off the Scottish coast without people knowing it.

"They rely on fish supplies to survive and if this is compromised they are going to starve."

Tony, who has appeared several times on STV's popular angling programme 'Hooked on Scotland', said: "I would consider myself one of the most experienced skippers on the Clyde and I know where all the fish traditionally are. Having checked out all the regular areas, I have come back with nothing.

"This has never happened before so the question is why has it happened now? Is it related to climate change? It is certainly a strange situation, the likes of which we have never seen on the Clyde before."

Howard Wood OBE, pictured, who is co-founder of COAST (Community of Arran Sea Bed), said: "While not toxic, I have been very concerned about this bloom.

"Water visibility in the first 10 days was less than a metre, it has now very slowly increased to possibly 3m. Any bird or marine species that solely use sight to hunt have been struggling.

"Tony saw this while out in his boat and so did I - there are virtually no seabirds around.

"I spoke to a friend who is a local bird recorder and he is also very concerned. I have never seen this type of algal bloom before.

"The Firth of Clyde is in a poor ecological state mainly due to overfishing and poor government management. As I and many others have warned for over a decade, to survive climate change we need healthy and resilient eco-systems.

"I predict the Clyde marine environment will be hit very hard over the next couple of decades."